Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Sellebrity: Parasitic Shutterbugs and the Plastic People They Stalk
you ready to feel sympathy for celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer
Lopez? Maybe just a little? Viewers will at least have some for their
children after watching rock & roll photographer Kevin Mazur’s documentary $ellebrity (trailer here), which begins a
series of special screenings nationwide this Friday.
is a reputable photojournalist. He is
credentialed to be backstage or on the red carpet. He wants aesthetically interesting shots
rather than embarrassing candids.
Unfortunately, scruffy paparazzi have been able to make ridiculously
good money from half-legitimate glossies for pictures of famous people doing
mundane things. This gives them an
incentive to take any photo at any time.
As a result, Mazur argues it is open season on celebrities 24-7-365.
Mazur and several talking head experts argue the current state of affairs is
largely the fault of Bonnie Fuller (and yours too, if read Us Magazine while she was editor).
While she may bear the brunt of the blame for their “stars are just like
us” features, there seems to be plenty of symbiotic culpability to go around. For instance, if more publicists were sacked
after paparazzis crashed supposedly hush-hush events, their tip-offs might
suddenly dry up.
Mazur is a photographer of a different color, but there seems to be a slight
conflict of interest when he helms a film taking his bottom-feeding rivals to
task. Still, he does not tip toe around
major players like Us and TMZ. However, he never gets any editor of note to
really get into the state of celebrity-centric media coverage on-camera.
$ellebrity’s best scene gives
viewers a vivid impression of what it is like to be blindsided by a paparazzi
pack. Mostly though, the tone of the
film feels much like an extended E! special report. He certainly found some willing big name
participants, including Aniston, Lopez, Salma Hayek, Elton John, and Kid Rock
(who easily supplies all the film’s best lines).
Much of the feeding frenzies Mazur documents are
truly unsightly. Even if celebrities largely
surrender their right to privacy, their young children do not deserve the same
treatment. When Mazur turns the camera
on the stalkerazzi, many of them are decidedly uncomfortable, even
threatening. Frankly, it is rather odd
that he did not do more of this. Putting
a face (and a name if possible) to the misbehavior might just be the best way
to shame the paparazzi into better conduct.
It could be a great hidden camera reality show. Regardless, Mazur’s documentary is slick and breezy, but not especially
deep. For those acutely interested in
the privacy and press issues it addresses, $ellebrity
kicks off a run of limited screenings through D & E Entertainment this
Friday (1/11), including the AMC Empire in New York.
Labels: Documentary, Kevin Mazur